Reconciliation Plaza

Reconciliation Plaza (HM171S)

Location: West Point, NY 10996 Orange County
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Country: United States of America
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N 41° 23.359', W 73° 57.368'

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The Class of 1961
presents this memorial to the
United States Military Academy
on the occasion of its 40th reunion
and one hundred forty years after the graduation of the Classes of May and June 1861.

We commemorate the reconciliation between North and South and dedicate this memorial to our classmates who died in service to our nation.

Left Marker :
USMA Class of May 1861
Those who gave their lives during the Civil War
Charles E. Patterson, CSA ? ? ? ? ? ? Shiloh
Henry W. Kingsbury, USA ? ? ? ?? ? ? ? Antietam
John Pelham, CSA ? ? ? ? ? ? Kelly's Ford
Edmund Kirby, USA ? ? ? ? ? ? Chancellorsville
Charles E. Cross, USA ? ? ? ? ? ? Franklin's Crossing
Charles E. Hazlett, USA ? ? ? ? ? ? Gettysburg
James F. McQuesten, USA ? ? ? ? ? ? Opequan Creek

USMA Class of June 1861
Those who gave their lives during the Civil War
Zadock T. Willet, CSA ? ? ? ? ? ? Shiloh
Benjamin King, Jr., CSA ? ? ? ? ? ? Shiloh
Julius W. Adams, Jr., USA ? ? ? ? ? ? Gaines Mill
Justin E. Dimick, USA ? ? ? ? ? ? Chancellorsville
Patrick H. O'Rorke, USA ? ? ? ? ? ? Gettysburg
Alonzo H. Cushing, USA ? ? ? ? ? ? Gettysburg
George A. Woodruff, USA ? ? ? ? ? ? Gettysburg
Charles H. Brightly, USA ? ? ? ? ? ? Wilderness
William F. Niemeyer, CSA ? ? ? ? ? ? Spotsylvania
Edward S. Willis, CSA ? ? ? ? ? ? Bethesda Church
Alexander D. Moore ? ? ? ? ? ? Cold Harbor
Arthur H. Dutton, USA ? ? ? ? ? ? Bermuda Hundred
William H. Browne, CSA ? ? ? ? ? ? Piedmont
John H. Kelly, CSA ? ? ? ? ? ? Franklin

Right Marker :
USMA Class of 1961
Classmates who gave their lives in service to our Nation
Ronald D. Hines ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 26 April 1964
James M. Coyle ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 20 August 1964
Douglas F. Matthews ? ? ? Thailand ? ? ? 13 November 1964
Basil M. Parks, II ? ? ? Thailand ? ? ? 14 November 1964
John C. Sigg ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 28 May 1965
Thomas W. Pusser ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 22 October 1965
Donald R. Bonko ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 26 November 1965
John A. Kemp ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 8 August 1966
William T. Deuel ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 30 September 1966
Monte T. Sloan ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 10 December 1966
Samuel D. Freeman, III ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 7 January 1967
Richard J. Davis ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 10 May 1967
Norman N. Cunningham ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 24 September 1968
John W. Lawrence, Jr. ? ? ? Vietnam ? ? ? 16 September 1971
Frederick D. Daniloff ? ? ? Fort Rucker, AL ? ? ? 22 February 1974


Additional Markers located at Reconciliation Plaza are listed below:

Marker 1:
Once Divided . . . Now United

Along this wall are displayed compelling examples of acts and events that are testimony to the reconciliation which transpired between 1861 and 1913 across the United States.

Marker 2:
West Point, New York

Class of May 1861 ? ? ? ? ? ? Class of June 1861
45 Graduated ? ? ? ? ? ? 34 Graduated
"Faithful to Death" ? ? ? ? ? "Through Trials to Triumph"
. . . Class Motto ? ? ? ? ? ? . . . Class Motto

Between 1856 and 1857, 155 young men from across the United States entered the Military Academy as members of the Classes of 1861 and 1862. After the outbreak of the Civil War, the Academy petitioned and the War Department authorized the early graduation of these two classes and they became the Classes of May 1861 and June 1861.

Just months short of graduation, amidst the escalating sectional tensions of the time, members of each class were forced to decide whether to remain loyal to the Union or to support the Confederacy. Faced with this decision, most remained loyal to the Union; however, five from the May class and twenty-three from the June class left the Academy and fought for the Confederacy. In addition, six graduates from the May class and three from the June class resigned their commissions or were dismissed from the United States Army and joined their classmates, who departed without graduating, in fighting for the Confederacy.

There was a premature and bloody reunion of the classes on July 21, 1861, when many of both classes fought on either side at the 1st Battle of Manassas.
Among these young men who began the 1861 academic year behind the Academy's gray walls, the cost of the war was high:
twelve died fighting for the Union, nine for the Confederacy.

Marker 3:
Fort Sumter, South Carolina
April 12, 1861

Brigadier General Pierre G. T. Beauregard, USMA Class of 1838, and a former Superintendent, led the Secessionist Forces at Charleston, South Carolina. They fired on Federal Forces at Fort Sumter, commanded by Major Robert Anderson, USMA Class of 1825.

Major Anderson was General Beauregard's artillery instructor at West Point when Beauregard was a cadet.

Marker 4:
Antietam, Maryland
September 17, 1862

On the bloodiest day of the war, Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes, a future Supreme Court Justice, commanded Company A, 10th Massachusetts, in the division commanded by Major General John Sedgwick, USMA Class of 1837. Captain Holmes, although severely wounded in the neck, ran unsteadily toward the Nicodemus house. He staggered into the living room, collapsed on the floor, and realized that the farmhouse had fallen into Confederate hands.

A Rebel poked his head through a shattered window inquiring, "Yankees?" Someone groaned, "Yes." "Wounded?" asked the Rebel, and "Yes" was the reply. "Want some water?" responded the Rebel as he whirled his canteen into the room and dashed off to join his unit on a skirmish line north of the house.

The Rebel unit remained at the Nicodemus farm about fifteen minutes before Federal gunners began firing at them and the Rebels realized they had to withdraw. The Rebel who loaned his canteen to the wounded in the house poked his head through the window again and shouted, "Hurry up there! Hand me my canteen! I am on the double quick myself now!"

Excerpted from Antietam: The Soldiers' Battle by John M. Priest

Marker 5:
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
July 3, 1863

Tell Hancock I have done him and my country a great injustice which I shall never cease to regret . . .

gasped Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead, CSA, ex-USMA Class of 1837, as he lay dying before the guns of Battery A, 4th US Artillery, commanded by First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing, USMA Class of June 1861, who fell there also. Armistead's brigade was stopped with the remainder of the division of Major General George E. Pickett, USMA Class of 1846, at the crest of Pickett's Charge.

This message, along with other personal items, was relayed to Armistead's close friend, Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, USMA Class of 1844, Commander of the Second Army Corps of the Army of the Potomac, by General Hancock's aide.

Marker 6:
Belle Grove, Virginia
October 21, 1864

Major General Stephen Dodson Ramseur, CSA, USMA Class of 1860, mortally wounded during the Battle of Cedar Creek, was carried from the field to Belle Grove, a nearby country home. His Union friends, whom he had met at West Point, Major General George Armstrong Custer, USMA Class of June 1861, Colonel Wesley Merritt, USMA Class of 1860, and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander C. Pennington, USMA Class of 1860, joined him and sat through the night comforting him as he lay dying.

Marker 7:
Washington, DC
March 4, 1865

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; let us strive to finish the work we are in; to bind the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, his orphans - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

Abraham Lincoln
. . . Second Inaugural Address

Marker 8:
Appomattox Court House, Virginia
April 9, 1865

General Robert E. Lee, USMA Class 1829, surrendered The Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant, USMA Class of 1843, commanding the Union Army.

" . . . each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes not to be disturbed by the United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside . . . let all men who claim to own a horse or mule take the animals home with then to work their little farms."
. . . Ulysses S. Grant

"This will have the best possible effect upon the men . . . It will be very gratifying and will do much towards concillating our people."
. . . Robert E. Lee

Marker 9:
New York City
May 22, 1869

Association of Graduates Established

With memories of the Civil War still fresh across the Nation, a group of West Point graduates met in New York City to establish the Association of Graduates. The founders envisioned two goals for the new organization: "to perpetuate the friendships formed" at the Military Academy and "to promote its best interests."

The first of these goals stood uppermost in their minds - they saw the new association as a way to help heal the old wounds of war. For many years, however, few former Confederates attended the annual meetings. Remembrances of the conflict, the pain of defeat, and the bitterness over Reconstruction kept them away. Nevertheless, Nathaniel R. Chambliss, First Captain of the USMA Class of May 1861, was one of the first graduates who fought for the Confederacy to join the Association of Graduates.

Charles C. Parsons, USMA Class of June 1861, became the Association's first secretary.

Marker 10:
West Point, New York
June 13, 1884

Annual Meeting, Association of Graduates

Major General Isaac R. Trimble, CSA, USMA Class of 1822, delivered the opening address, calling for renewed friendships between Northern and Southern graduates. He urged both to create:

"What no others can do so well as the men of the Army . . . Sentiments of good will and kindness toward each other; sentiments which shall, in time, pervade the whole."

Marker 11:
Mount McGregor, Adirondacks, New York
July 16, 1885

General Ulysses S. Grant, USMA Class of 1843, though critically ill, completed his memoirs July 16, 1885, stating,

"dedicated to the American Soldier and Sailor."

"I feel we are on the eve of a new era when there is to be harmony between the Federal and the Confederate. I cannot stay to be a living witness to this prophecy, but I feel it within me that it is so... Let us have peace."

Ulysses S. Grant died one week later on July 23, 1885.

Marker 12:
West Point, New York
June 9, 1902 USMA Centennial Alumni Day, Cullum Hall

Many graduates believed that the Academy's Centennial in 1902 was both a magnet to draw attendance and the moment to effect final reconciliation. They invited Brigadier General Edward P. Alexander, CSA, USMA Class of 1857, to give a major address from the standpoint of the Confederate veteran. He accepted, and a large contingent of Southerners decided to attend.

Union Major General Thomas H. Ruger, USMA Class of 1854, spoke first:

"When the end came there was found in their hearts an echo to the words ?Let us have peace.' "

General Alexander spoke next:

" . . . it was best for the South that the cause was lost . . . The firm bonds which today hold together this great nation could never have been wrought by debates in Congress . . ."

Marker 13:
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
July 1-7, 1913

President Woodrow Wilson welcomed the 42,000 Civil War veterans gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg:

"I need not tell you what the Battle of Gettysburg meant. These gallant men in blue and gray sit all about us today. Many of them met upon this ground in grim and deadly struggle . . . But fifty years have gone by since then . . . What have they meant? They have meant peace and vigor and union and the maturity and might of a great nation . . ."

Governor James B. McCreary of Kentucky addressed the veterans:

" . . . While those of us who were soldiers when the Battle of Gettysburg was fought will always remember the glory and gloom of that period, we may well thank God today that the benediction of peace and reconciliation spreads over our great republic, and we realize that the immortal words now most conspicuous are:
One great country, one constitution, one flag,
and one destiny."

Governor John K. Tener of Pennsylvania added:

"We meet on this occasion to participate in a ceremony that stands unmatched in all recorded time, for nowhere in history have men who opposed each other in mighty battle come together in peaceful reunion fifty years after that memorable struggle . . . Today soldiers of both armies gather as American citizens, the Union soldiers in some instances journeying from southern states and Confederate soldiers from northern states."
HM NumberHM171S
Year Placed2001
Placed ByUSMA Class of 1961
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 7:44pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 587272 N 4582502
Decimal Degrees41.38931667, -73.95613333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 23.359', W 73° 57.368'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 23' 21.54" N, 73° 57' 22.08" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)914, 845
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 525-537 Thayer Rd, West Point NY 10996, US
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